Though the world's focus should be on the citizens of Homs, who have born the brunt of a ferocious onslaught for weeks, the killing of the foreign reporters has brought a spurt of international attention to the Syrian crackdown. The deaths, as well as the passing of The New York Time's Anthony Shadid as he was being smuggled out of Syria, have also led to a fair deal of soul-searching and debate among the community of reporters who cover conflict in the region.
The reporters in Homs were gathered in what's been described as a media center, but was effectively a makeshift office for foreign reporters and opposition activists. The office was a node of phone calls and other forms of communications that Assad's forces probably have the ability to monitor. Brian Conley, who runs an NGO that trains local journalists in conflict zones in how to get their stories out safely, says the center apparently had a VSAT hookup for Internet communications, which would have been a like a "giant radio beacon" if the Syrian military had the equipment to detect it. A site with signs of that kind of activity would be an inviting target for Assad's gunners.
Now in online forums and articles, there's a lively debate about how to stay safe. On private mailing lists and discussion groups for reporters, there have been complaints about news reports revealing too much detail about how reporters are smuggled in and out of Syria, and worries about deliberate Syrian efforts to kill foreign reporters.